Two factions of the pro-Awami League teachers’ Blue Panel at Dhaka University (DU) are slinging mud at each other on Facebook over the next election to the vice chancellor (VC) panel as the tenure of current VC Prof AAMS Arefin Siddique is nearing the end.
According to the Dhaka University Ordinance 1973, the VC will be appointed by the chancellor for a period of four years from a panel of three teachers. He will be nominated by the university senate and be eligible for a re-appointment for a second term.
DU sources said as the current VC's tenure will end on August 24, the pro-ruling party panel has split into two factions – one led by Dhaka University Teachers’ Association (Duta) Convenor Prof Dr Nazma Shaheen and the other by Duta President Prof ASM Maksud Kamal.
The Maksud-faction, which boycotted the May 22 senate election, reportedly started lobbying political circles to get their blessing to elect the next VC from their group and make sure that Arefin doesn't get included in the VC panel again, while the other faction wants Arefin to be reappointed to the post so that the prevailing “congenial” educational atmosphere remains uninterrupted.
The Maksud-faction includes Prof Md Abdus Samad, Prof Sadeka Halim, Prof AKM Golam Rabbani, Prof Harunur Rashid Khan and Asst Prof Neelima Akter, some of whom were among those who filed a petition with the Supreme Court on July 24 against the convening of a Senate meeting for finalising VC recommendations without nominating or electing representatives from registered graduates.
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As per the 1973 Ordinance, the senate will vote to form a panel of nominees and forward it to President Abdul Hamid, also chancellor of the university, who will then appoint one of them as the VC.
Presenting data from earlier polls, Neelima, an assistant professor of the English department, however, claimed in a July 29 Facebook post that the number of senate members casting their ballots in the 2013 VC panel polls in which Arefin was elected the VC, was quite smaller compared with other previous elections.
Asad Uzzaman, an assistant professor of applied chemistry and chemical engineering, slammed Neelima in his comment on the post, saying Neelima supported VC Arefin in the 2013 election, but now she is speaking out against him, which contradicts her moral values.
“…Why did you not voice your objections at the time,” he asked Neelima.
Denying this, she posed a counter-question: “Who told you that I supported [Arefin] then? I did not.”
Asad Uzzaman replied: “You did not oppose him at the time. You did not say anything [against him] on Facebook or any other forums.”
Without naming Neelima, Asaduzzman Kajol, a lecturer of mass communication and journalism, said: “Some years ago, a teacher used to call on sir [Arefin] virtually every day to get some special privileges including residence facilities. You know, Apa [sister], sir had given the teacher much more than a mere residence. He made a mistake by rendering the facilities, which is why he has to face such [bad] circumstances.
Mentionable, the Supreme Court on Thursday stayed all further activities of the university's panel of nominees for its next VC, responding to the petition.